The Girl Can't Help It (1956)

96 or 98-99 mins | Comedy | December 1956

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Do Re Mi . The opening credits begin in black and white in a 1.33:1 non-widescreen aspect ratio as Tom Ewell strides into the foreground and states that he will play the character of "Tom Miller." Explaining that the picture has been "photographed in the grandeur of CinemaScope," Ewell then pushes back the edges of the frame to widen the screen. When he states that the picture was filmed in "gorgeous, life-like color by De Luxe," the screen changes from black and white to color. Ewell then observes that the story is about music, and the sound of a jukebox blares over the rest of his dialogue. The film ends with Tom taking the stage to address the audience once again, followed by "Jerri Jordan," their bevy of children, and "Fats Murdock." After concluding that Fats has become a fabulous baby-sitter and a major star, Tom pulls together the edges of the screen, much like a theatrical curtain, to black out the image. Fats then jumps out and offers to sing to the audience.
       The scene in which Fats first meets Tom features a film clip of Betty Grable singing "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate," excerpted from the 1950 Twentieth Century-Fox film Wabash Avenue (see entry). HR news items yield the following information about the production: A Jan 1956 news item announced that Ewell was to star with Sheree North, and the film was to be directed and produced by Nunnally Johnson from an original story titled "Do Re Mi" by Garson Kanin. By Jul 1956, the project had been reassigned to ... More Less

The working title of this film was Do Re Mi . The opening credits begin in black and white in a 1.33:1 non-widescreen aspect ratio as Tom Ewell strides into the foreground and states that he will play the character of "Tom Miller." Explaining that the picture has been "photographed in the grandeur of CinemaScope," Ewell then pushes back the edges of the frame to widen the screen. When he states that the picture was filmed in "gorgeous, life-like color by De Luxe," the screen changes from black and white to color. Ewell then observes that the story is about music, and the sound of a jukebox blares over the rest of his dialogue. The film ends with Tom taking the stage to address the audience once again, followed by "Jerri Jordan," their bevy of children, and "Fats Murdock." After concluding that Fats has become a fabulous baby-sitter and a major star, Tom pulls together the edges of the screen, much like a theatrical curtain, to black out the image. Fats then jumps out and offers to sing to the audience.
       The scene in which Fats first meets Tom features a film clip of Betty Grable singing "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate," excerpted from the 1950 Twentieth Century-Fox film Wabash Avenue (see entry). HR news items yield the following information about the production: A Jan 1956 news item announced that Ewell was to star with Sheree North, and the film was to be directed and produced by Nunnally Johnson from an original story titled "Do Re Mi" by Garson Kanin. By Jul 1956, the project had been reassigned to Frank Tashlin. Modern sources add that Mansfield was cast after Fox purchased the rights to Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (see entry) and with it, Mansfield's release from her Broadway contract. Although a HR news item adds Stephen Goodwins and Joey Scott to the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The picture's guest stars were all popular rock and roll performers of the 1950s who performed their signature songs of the time. The Girl Can't Help It marked the screen debut of Little Richard. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 Dec 1956.
---
Daily Variety
19 Dec 56
p. 3.
Film Daily
19 Dec 56
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jan 56
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 56
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 56
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Sep 56
p. 4, 12.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 56
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Oct 56
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 56
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 56
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 56
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 56
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
22 Dec 56
p. 193.
New York Times
9 Feb 57
p. 12.
Variety
19 Dec 56
p. 7.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Exec ward des
MUSIC
Mus supv and cond
Vocal supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Dial coach
Casting
Grip
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Big Band Boogie" by Ray Anthony.
SONGS
"The Girl Can't Help It" and "Rock Around The Rock Pile," music and lyrics by Bobby Troup
"I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate," music and lyrics by A. J. Piron
"Ev'ry Time," music and lyrics by Tony Iavello and Mel Leven
+
SONGS
"The Girl Can't Help It" and "Rock Around The Rock Pile," music and lyrics by Bobby Troup
"I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate," music and lyrics by A. J. Piron
"Ev'ry Time," music and lyrics by Tony Iavello and Mel Leven
"My Idea Of Love" and "Ain't Gonna Cry No More," music and lyrics by Johnny Glenn
"Ready Teddy," music and lyrics by Robert Blackwell and John Marascalo
"She's Got It," music and lyrics by Richard Penniman and John Marascalo
"Cool It Baby," music and lyrics by Lionel Newman and Carroll Coates
"Cinnamon Sinners," music and lyrics by Lincoln Chase
"Spread The Word," music and lyrics by Bob Russell
"Cry Me A River," music and lyrics by Arthur Hamilton
"Be-Bop-A-Lula," music and lyrics by Gene Vincent and Tex Davis
"20 Flight Rock," music and lyrics by Ned Fairchild
"Rockin Is Our Bizness," music and lyrics by Claude Trenier, Gene Gilbeaux, Don Hill and Buddy Trenier
"Blue Monday," music and lyrics by Fats Domino
"You'll Never, Ever Know," music and lyrics by Paul Robi, Tony Williams and Jean Miles.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Do Re Mi
Release Date:
December 1956
Production Date:
mid September--early November 1956
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
19 December 1956
Copyright Number:
LP7423
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Black & white with color sequences
b&w and col by De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
lenses by Bausch & Lomb
Duration(in mins):
96 or 98-99
Length(in feet):
8,893
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18320
SYNOPSIS

Tom Miller, a besotted, washed-up talent agent, is summoned to a meeting by Marty "Fats" Murdock, the former slot machine king who was toppled while serving time for income tax evasion. Fats, who used to be known as Slim until he developed a fondness for fine cuisine, offers to hire Tom to promote his "nobody" girl friend, Jerri Jordan, into a "star canary," thus making her worthy enough to marry. Tom is skeptical about Jerri's abilities until he meets the curvaceous creature. Bankrolled by Fats, Tom indulges in an alcoholic binge and awakens the next morning to a visit by the solicitous Jerri, who whips up a gourmet breakfast for him. Over the soufflé, Jerri bemoans the fact that while she longs to be a simple homemaker, men view her as a sexpot. That night, Tom squires Jerri to a string of nightclubs, instructing her to flaunt her spectacular shape. Jerri dazzles the nightclub owners and causes quite a stir as Tom gets progressively drunker. Concerned, Jerri questions whether Tom's unrequited love for singer Julie London has driven him to drink. Upon returning home that evening, Tom is tormented by visions of Julie. Now insanely jealous of Tom, Fats orders his henchman Mousie to tail him. The next day, Fats summons Jerri and Tom to his estate on Long Island. On the drive there, Jerri insists on stopping at the beach for a picnic. While frolicking in the sand, Jerri confides to Tom that her real name is Georgiana, but Fats shortened it to Jerri. She also reveals that she owes Fats a debt of gratitude for helping to ... +


Tom Miller, a besotted, washed-up talent agent, is summoned to a meeting by Marty "Fats" Murdock, the former slot machine king who was toppled while serving time for income tax evasion. Fats, who used to be known as Slim until he developed a fondness for fine cuisine, offers to hire Tom to promote his "nobody" girl friend, Jerri Jordan, into a "star canary," thus making her worthy enough to marry. Tom is skeptical about Jerri's abilities until he meets the curvaceous creature. Bankrolled by Fats, Tom indulges in an alcoholic binge and awakens the next morning to a visit by the solicitous Jerri, who whips up a gourmet breakfast for him. Over the soufflé, Jerri bemoans the fact that while she longs to be a simple homemaker, men view her as a sexpot. That night, Tom squires Jerri to a string of nightclubs, instructing her to flaunt her spectacular shape. Jerri dazzles the nightclub owners and causes quite a stir as Tom gets progressively drunker. Concerned, Jerri questions whether Tom's unrequited love for singer Julie London has driven him to drink. Upon returning home that evening, Tom is tormented by visions of Julie. Now insanely jealous of Tom, Fats orders his henchman Mousie to tail him. The next day, Fats summons Jerri and Tom to his estate on Long Island. On the drive there, Jerri insists on stopping at the beach for a picnic. While frolicking in the sand, Jerri confides to Tom that her real name is Georgiana, but Fats shortened it to Jerri. She also reveals that she owes Fats a debt of gratitude for helping to reduce her father's prison sentence. Touched by Jerri's confession, Tom informs Fats that he is resigning. To intimidate Tom, Fats chides him for pushing Julie into a career when all she wanted was a home and family. That night, Tom, drunk, sees visions of Jerri beckoning to him. The next day, Tom gruffly drags Jerri into a rehearsal room. When she opens her mouth to sing, however, it soon becomes apparent that her voice is the only flat thing about her, and Tom and Jerri laughingly realize they have the perfect solution to their predicament. Fats, however, rebuts that if Eddie Cochran can be a star, so can Jerri, and orders them to record the next day. In her debut song, "Rock Around the Rock Pile," penned by Fats about the prison blues, Jerri squeals the background siren. On Thanksgiving Day, Fats arranges for Mousie to wiretap Jerri's telephone. When Tom calls her from Chicago that night, where he has an appointment with "Legs" Wheeler, the jukebox kingpin, Jerri laments that she misses Tom, reducing the empathetic eavesdropping Mousie to tears. Mousie then edits Jerri's endearments from the tape before presenting it to Fats. In Chicago, Wheeler is enthusiastic about Jerri's song until he discovers that Fats was the composer and orders Tom thrown out of his office. When Tom recounts the events to Fats, Fats tells him that Wheeler was his erstwhile rival in the slot machine business and begins a war of terror on tavern owners, forcing them to replace the Wheeler boxes with "Murdock Musik." Jerri becomes a star, and as she mournfully is measured for her wedding gown, Fats complains that he is going to marry a "dame with a stinking voice." Seizing the opportunity, Mousie suggests giving Tom the honeymoon tickets instead, and confesses that he edited the tapes. The night of Jerri's stage debut, Tom bids goodbye to Jerri in a farewell embrace. Jerri then takes the stage and sings a melodic tribute to Tom. When Fats arrives, Tom informs him that he is in love with Jerri, prompting Fats to offer to be his best man. Just then, Wheeler and his thugs arrive, guns drawn, and Tom hustles Fats to safety on stage and introduces him as the composer of Jerri's song. As Fats performs his composition, Wheeler, impressed by his talent, calls off the vendetta. Jerri then admits that she pretended to have no talent to avoid marrying Fats. Some time later, Tom and Jerri kiss in their honeymoon suite, while in the background, a television blares, broadcasting Fats's television debut. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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